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Source: Children’s Home Society of California

The following are some activities you can do with your children to encourage their development.


Birth to 6 Months

I May:

  • Follow my movement and sounds with my eyes and by turning my head.
  • Look/turn away from you or cry when I need a break from an activity.
  • Lift my head when lying on my stomach.
  • Cry to tell you I need something. I may be hungry, hurting or wet.
  • Roll over from my stomach to my back.
  • Like to put objects in my mouth.
  • Move an object from one hand to the other.
  • Kick my legs and move my arms.
  • Make sounds, like aah and ooh.
  • Play with my hands and feet.
  • Make eye contact with you.
  • React to loud noises.
  • Notice my hands.
  • Smile and laugh.
  • Gurgle and coo.
  • Sleep a lot.

To help my development:

  • Stroke my head and chin.
  • Softly talk and sing to me.
  • Keep me away from loud noises.
  • Do not throw me in the air or shake me.
  • Make eye contact with me and smile a lot.
  • Change my diaper as soon as it is wet or dirty.
  • Give me safe toys, like plastic/rubber rings, rattles, or soft objects.
  • Show me books with large, colorful picture and different textures.
  • Keep my head from wobbling around. My neck muscles are weak.
  • To quiet me down, gently pat my back, hold/rock/walk me, or use a soft voice.
  • Move objects slowly in front of me, so I can follow them with my head and eyes.

6 to 12 Months

I may:

  • Make sounds, like bbbb, dada, gaga, or mama.
  • Drink from a cup and begin to eat solid foods with your help.
  • Understand what “no” means. (But I may not obey you.)
  • Repeat actions over and over again to help me learn.
  • Move around on my stomach or crawl.
  • Roll over from my back to my stomach.
  • Copy sounds and movements that you make.
  • Reach for objects in front of me.
  • Recognize you from strangers.
  • Keep my head up and sit without support.
  • Move objects in/out of a container.
  • Hold objects with my hands.
  • Pull myself up onto things.
  • Respond to my name.

To help my development:

  • Keep objects that I can choke on away from my reach.
  • Sing or play songs that have a lot of repetition.
  • Give me room to move my arms and legs.
  • Play games with me, like “Pat-a-Cake” and Peek-A-Boo.”
  • Give me safe toys that I can bite, bang, shake, or throw, like blocks and cups.
  • Read books with large, colorful pictures and different textures.
  • Give me safe objects/toys that make sounds and feel/look different from each other.
  • At night, help me comfort myself with my favorite blanket, music, or stuffed animal.
  • As I learn to communicate and show you what I like/dislike, respond to the sounds and body movements that I make.

12 to 18 Months

I May:

  • Repsond to a question, like “Where is the ball?” by pointing.
  • Remember things that happened hours or a day ago.
  • Begin to think of ways to solve problems.
  • Walk without support, but I may crawl sometimes.
  • Get upset when I am apart from you.
  • Stack one object on top of another.
  • Cry, hit, or have a tantrum when I am frustrated.
  • Drink from a cup by myself, but I may spill.
  • Do things you told me not to do.
  • Have a short attention span.
  • Follow simple instructions.
  • Turn a page in a book.
  • Say 10-15 words.
  • Eat with my fingers.
  • Imitate you.

To help my development:

  • Offer choices to me.
  • Take walks with me.
  • Make sure I get enough rest.
  • Speak slowly to me face-to-face.
  • Give me small, soft pieces of food to feed myself.
  • When I am frustrated, encourage me to use words.
  • Repeat my favorite books, rhymes, songs, and stories.
  • Talk to me about what I feel, hear, see, smell, and taste.
  • Encourage me to practice carrying, climbing, pulling, and pushing.
  • Play hide-and-seek and finger games with me, like “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
  • Praise me with phrases, like “Good Job!” or, “You’re working so hard!”

18 to 24 Months

I May:

  • Use words that focus on myself, like “I, me, and mine.”
  • Say 15-50 words and use new words every month.
  • Help you with dressing and undressing me.
  • Be able to make sounds that animals make.
  • Say two-word sentences, like “Hold me!”
  • Be able to name and point to body parts.
  • Walk up and down stairs with your help.
  • Name simple pictures in a book.
  • Climb, jump, run, and walk.
  • Move my body to music.
  • Use a spoon and fork.
  • Kick a ball forward.
  • Not like to share.
  • Take turns.

To help my development:

  • Give me large crayons to scribble.
  • Help me put my feelings into words.
  • Help me eat with a spoon and drink with a straw.
  • Keep your eye on me because I may wander away.
  • Give me toys that I can pour, scoop, squeeze, and stack.
  • Provide safe areas indoors and outdoors for me to move around.
  • Read to me and encourage me to find objects in the pictures.
  • Talk to me about what I am doing as I do it. For example, “You’re rolling the ball.”
  • Give me toys that I can play “pretend” with, like plastic food and telephones without cords.